TKKM o Hoani Waititi Marae lays challenge to ditch fizzy drinks

By Leah Te Whata

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi are challenging other kura kaupapa Māori and bi-lingual units to become "pro water" as part of a Healthy Families Waitakere initiative. 

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae lay a challenge to all other kura to ditch sugary drinks and make water their first choice.

Student Tuake Pohatu says, "We're challenging schools to drink water and become healthy."

In 2012, 55% of Māori and Pacific children were overweight or obese, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae Principal Hare Rua says sugar is to blame.

"You need to consider Māori people and the health issues we face like diabetes and obesity, the key cause of these issues is sugar."

Year 13 student Tuake Pohatu composed a haka, highlighting Hoani Waititi's commitment to stop consuming drinks with high amounts of sugar.

Pohatu says, "Some of the words say that water is the vessel to physical and spiritual well-being and the life sustenance for fruits and vegetables.

With help from Healthy Families Waitakere, Sport Waitakere and He Oranga Poutama the school has installed a new water fountain.

Rua says, "The kids are happy because they've been asking for a good quality water fountain like this one for around seven years now."

As part of the school's health strategy, they are seeking funds to employ a chef to provide students with healthy meals.